Comics You Need To Read

CURSE
Michael Moreci/Tim Daniel/Colin Lorimer/Riley Rossmo

When is a Werewolf story not about a werewolf?  Curse gives us that answer as we find a deep dive into just how far a father will go for his son.  This, I think, is why so many have either missed the boat, or the point with this book.  I read it in one sitting and was able to watch the entirety of the story play out.  This was best as this book works best as a once act play cut into scenes rather than a traditional chapter to chapter break type of format.  What Curse does, is give us a standard story BUT with the basic nature of the characters AS the main characters.  A simple premise by no means equals a simple book.  The depth of the writing is incredible as the narrative is driven by the basic nature of those involved.  Usually this is twisted or mutated into something else in order to move things along.  Here we’re given a darling exposition on the basic driving principles that every single one of us can relate too.  A father with a sick son and the Werewolf, an animal, are the two biggest devices.  They make the story and they ARE the story.  Both are essentially broken and in desperate situations.  Neither can afford a single misstep but are beyond the point of rational thinking.  You come to Curse on the premise of a horror book and you get one … just not the one you’re thinking you’re getting.  That’s A GOOD THING.  As the masterful take on the Werewolf unfolds you get a mirrored image of a father who is equally changing with each passing day.  Subtle art elements create the perfect shadowed environment for this story.

All in all CURSE nails the story IT intended to tell.  Read deeper and see how the word applies and embrace the metaphoric setting of characters … you’ll find a fantastic book.

HIGH CRIMES
Christopher Sebela/Ibrahim Moustafa/Lesley Atlansky/Shawn Aldridge

People are divided on this book and that’s a shame.  MOST that aren’t very ‘high’ on it seem to let their personal agendas get in the way of a great noir story in a very unique setting.  Outside of the ‘agency’ High Crimes gives us fresh settings for our main character, scene, and backstories.  I found that quite appealing.  Don’t let your personal agenda get in the way.  Allow yourself to read an excellent book.  Using the backdrop of Mt Everest creates a tie to our shattered protagonist’s past while dramatically illustrating the difficulty and complexity of a mind that has gone through the wringer.  You’ve got be in a rather dark and hard place to take on the job of recovering the hands of fallen climbers for the sake of identification for loved ones.  That’s where we are when all sorts of fresh hell erupts from the frozen over landscape.  That’s what happens when one of the recovered hands is flagged by the CIA!  Now we’ve got all sorts of issues for our issue laden ex-Olympic snowboarder.  The plague of trying above all else to do what is right, but continuously falling into not quite being able to follows the story all the way through.  This makes for a full frontal facing of ones’ self of the harshest nature.  Each step up the mountain is revealing on many different layers.  The book is flat out beautiful and the creative team executed their chosen elements perfectly.  The underlying issues weighed equally, if not more so, than the literal problems within the story.  It is layered and has roots that run deep.  It seems like there’s too much going on but there’s not because everything is tied to who we’re exploring and the mountain she represents.

This is a great take on a classic noir type story that presents a very unique environment.  Risks and dangers abound that normally wouldn’t in this type of story thanks to the use of Everest.  Bravo.

THE GIFTED
Adrian Wassel/Damian Wassel/Nathan Gooden

If you’re looking for an absolute brilliant piece of art, in comic form, then this is what you’re looking for.  So often minimalist is used to dampen an otherwise unfavorable take.  Not here.  Taking a less (and just about absent) approach to dialogue opens up the entirety of the creativity with this team.  The art, forms, and purpose of this book are all the ‘words’ you need to take it all in.  The execution of emotion and understanding through the art directly, and indirectly is on a scale I’ve rarely seen.  There is no question as to what is happening, nor why.  This book is filled with purpose.  Each page is a narrative of its own that when put together presents an unrelenting and powerful piece.  Using elements other than the raw lines sparingly creates a breathtaking gone when they are introduced.  As our main focus (the wolf) is given a precious gift the page literally explodes with color.  The IPA introduced towards the end of the book is another perfect example of not only the creativity, but the intelligence that sits within these pages.  It is clear that the build (represented by emerging elements from raw lines, to color, and to the IAP) hasn’t reached its final form as book two ends.  I truly hope that this story does eventually get completed.  It is hard to create a truly unique vision but we have one here.  The analog for the wolf is the book itself.  Unreal.

The Gifted is a master artistic piece.  The brilliance in art contained within is something that everyone should experience.

THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME
Rick Remender/Greg Tocchini/Rus Wooton

The seedy underbelly of life is what makes the noir/crime story so fascinating.  For every ray of light and good deed there’s the other side of things.  We’re presented a very close knit bare bones outline in The Last Days of American Crime but the novel approach to the antagonizing event is what shines through.  It isn’t just that a heist is planned, it’s that it is a genuine last chance.  Even criminals and low life types are slaves to the underwritten laws of being human.  We want to succeed, to do something worthy, or at the very least make SOME kind of impression.  With a week left to commit a crime our story is given a birth and a wild crime romp ensues.  The overbearing tones (huge government endeavor to signal boost the end to crime) drive the pretense that no matter what you just may not be able to outrun who you are destined to be.  Drugs, sex, and bad doing are in the blood of some.  For others its is a genuine desire to be good but simply unable to get out of one’s own way long enough to do it.  Then of course there’s the good hearted soul that will take a karmic gift even if it may have come from ill intentions.  The characters come crashing together and both the good and bad nature of who we are, and can be create a glorious train wreck of interactions.  As the week winds down and hands are forced the end product leaves much to smile about, but plenty to long for (as a person).  The presentation is realistic when needed and over the top when necessary.  Each page is a treat.

TLDOAC is more than just a classic crime thriller.  There are several elements combined to make a different kind of take of the genre.  All in all a good take that is fun too read all around.

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